Remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) coursed through banks continued to post double-digit growth in August 2006 reaching US$1.09 billion. The sustained rise in remittances brought the year-to-date level to US$8.10 billion, or a 15.3 percent increase over the comparable period a year ago. Remittances for full year 2006 are expected to reach US$11.87 billion.
Behind the increase in remittances during the review period were the 1) continued preference for Filipino workers; and 2) enhanced efficiency in the delivery of remittance services to remitters and their beneficiaries.
Preliminary data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) on new hires and rehires showed that total deployment in August climbed year-on-year by 41.6 percent to 100,793. The number of land-based workers grew by 54.1 percent (78,377) while that of sea-based workers by 10.2 percent (22,416). The growth in August brought total deployment for the eight-month period to 762,153, up by 8.7 percent from the same period last year. Classified by type of worker, both the number of land-based and sea-based workers posted growths of 7.2 percent (577,204) and 13.9 percent (184,949), respectively. Filipino overseas workers continue to remain in the list of preferred sources of labor on account of their skills and high degree of trainability. Moreover, the government and private sector’s efforts to comply with the standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for seafarers and the establishment of stronger bilateral relations with labor-importing countries also helped sustain the deployment of Filipinos abroad which, in turn, supported the high level of remittances during the review period.
Remittances also rose on the strength of the marketing activities of commercial banks and private remittance agents aimed at extending efficient remittance services to Filipinos abroad and their beneficiaries. These activities include, among others, enhanced modes of remittance transfer; competitive service charges and conversion rates; wider market visibility through product brochures and intensive promotions; increased remittance centers and tie-ups abroad; and enhanced electronic banking services.
To date, the major sources of remittances remain to be U.S.A., Saudi Arabia, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Canada and Singapore.